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I am helping out an NGO, called Orphans Found Fund, here in Arusha Tanzania setup a computer lab to teach students about Ubuntu and open source applications. I have installed Ubuntu 10.10 on all the systems. What I'm wondering about is how to tweak the systems so that the kids cannot:

  • Delete or alter system files
  • Alter the system settings
  • Add or remove applications
  • Exceed a time limit (like an Internet Cafe)

    Also as the administrator I would like to monitor the usage for another system to make sure that abuse of network is not taking place. Any advice is much appreciated. Brendon

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1,2 & 3 are done if you Set up a "GUest account", i'm not sure but i think there is a screenlet (widget) to monitor bandwidth usage. – Uri Herrera Jun 29 '11 at 8:56
Have you considered setting Ubuntu up as a kiosk? – Rinzwind Jun 29 '11 at 8:58
  • Delete or alter system files
  • Alter the system settings
  • Add or remove applications

To do any of these you need the sudo password. So after installing your system you have your own account and start creating normal users. Do not tell them the sudo password and they can not alter these. All they can do is change values in their own home.

If you want total control install ACL Install acl

(wiki: access control list)

guest login takes care of these too. Logging in as a guest will lock down anything important. But I think you would not want this if you want to track who was responsible for altering something. guest will make everything show up as altered by guest. I would set up useraccont instead so you could see based on user if someone created something.

  • Exceed a time limit (like an Internet Cafe)

My favourite method would be a cron script that checks uptime and shuts down after reaching a threshold. Command for shutdown after 120 minutes:

sudo shutdown -h 120 

If you put that in a script and put it into cron with crontab -e it would kill the machine after 2 hours.

Mind you ... you will get into trouble with your users if this happens when they have some unsaved content or a website open they wanted to bookmark before the system quits.

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